In late 2008, as the world’s economy crumbles and Barack Obama ascends to the White House, the remarkably unremarkable Milton Ontario – not to be confused with Milton, Ontario – leaves his parents’ basement in Middle-of-Nowhere, Saskatchewan, and sets forth to find fame, fortune, and love in the Euro-lite electric sexuality of Montreal; to bask in the endless twenty-something Millennial adolescence of the Plateau; to escape the infinite flatness of Saskatchewan and find his messiah – Leonard Cohen. Hilariously ironic and irreverent, in Dirty Birds, Morgan Murray generates a quest novel for the twenty-first century—a coming-of-age, rom-com, crime-farce thriller—where a hero’s greatest foe is his own crippling mediocrity as he seeks purpose in art, money, power, crime, and sleeping in all day.
Morgan Murray was born and raised on a farm near the same west-central Alberta village as figure-skating legend Kurt Browning (Caroline). He now lives, works, plays, writes, and builds all sorts of crooked furniture in Cape Breton. In between, he has been a professional schemer, a farmer, a rancher, a roustabout, a secretary, a reporter, a designer, a Tweeter, and a student in St. John’s, Calgary, Prague, Montreal, Chicoutimi, and Paris. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies from the University of Calgary, a Certificate in Central and Eastern European Studies from the University of Economics, Prague, a Master of Philosophy in Humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a participation ribbon for beef-calf showmanship (incomplete) from the Little Britches 4-H Club.
“Canadians rejoice! Our Vonnegut has finally arrived! Morgan Murray’s debut is a great, brawling, sprawling, muscular glory of a story. Funny, dark, and wholly original. ”
— Will Ferguson, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize
"One of the most fun and dynamic aspects of the book is Morgan’s facility with different dialogues. These include, but are not limited to, the matrix of the prairie junior hockey structure, the non-stop conversation of a Newfoundland taxi driver, academic papers, police files, and, most prominently, Milton’s poetry. These are often decoded and/or annotated in footnotes, a comedic amplification that’s an effective and refreshing device in this fiction. There’s work and care in the writing; the experiences, however foolish, feel earned. At the same time it’s kinetic: the words, like birds, take flight. "
— Joan Sullivan
"This book would make a great Canadian film starring Michael Cera. Refreshingly backlit with the nostalgia of Obama era planet Earth, riffing on a myriad of contemporary themes including intergenerational tensions and anxieties, global economic frailty and the pursuit of young desire, Dirty Birds is the perfect misfit read for your next layaway, or when you’re down to your last shot of whisky. It provides days’ worth of warm, weird feelings. "
— Nathaniel G. Moore
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